2021 Annual Conference

April 9 - 10, 2021
Virtually, Everywhere


Keynote Presentations

The Interdisciplinarity of Innovation
Karen Burg, PhD

Innovation lies at the intersection of disciplines (e.g., biology, engineering, medicine), underpinning both basic and applied research. Indeed the convergence of knowledge in the basic science biological domain can be combined with approaches in the applied domains to solve complex biomedical problems. The design of 3D benchtop tissue systems using rapid prototyping and the application of textile fiber science to fashion predictive technologies are examples of innovations produced at the confluence of multiple disciplines. Both exemplify the utility of cellular materials and the importance of a cell-material “handshake”. Tissue models can be used to investigate tissue function and disease progression, discover new pharmaceuticals, teach, and personalize treatments for patients, while wicking, textile fibers can be used as therapeutic predictive technologies. This presentation will include an introduction to 3D tissue test system biofabrication, the potential for personalized medicine, the relevance of tissue engineering, biofabrication, and predictive technologies to human and veterinary medicine, and the importance of customer discovery in the ideation, research, and discovery processes.

Dr. Karen Burg (BS, Chemical Engineering, North Carolina State University; MS, PhD, Bioengineering, Clemson University; Postdoctorate Tissue Engineering, Carolinas Medical Center) is the Harbor Lights Chair in Biomedical Research and Professor of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at the University of Georgia (UGA). She has given over 200 invited presentations, authored over 200 publications, and edited three books detailing biomaterials and engineered tissues. Karen was selected by the Department of State to serve as a member of the US delegation to the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad, India, and alumni GES ambassador to the 2019 Summit in the Netherlands. She currently serves as a member of the Steering Committee Member for the International College of Fellows of Biomaterials Science and Engineering and she is a member of the National Academy of Inventors Board of Directors. Technologies from her team's research serve as the basis for a cancer diagnostics spin-off company which has garnered multiple economic development awards for impact in facilitating personalized cancer therapies through 3D cellular systems. Honors to Karen include the inaugural Swiss AO Research Prize, a National Science Foundation Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, recognition as an MIT TR Young Innovator, an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, a National Academy of Inventors Fellow, an International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering Fellow, and an American Association for the Advancement of Science-Lemelson Invention Ambassador.

Bioengineering for Low Resource Settings and COVID
Delphine Dean, PhD

Successful engineering depends on a team’s ability to work within design constraints to find the best solutions. Teams with diverse backgrounds and experiences can often navigate this process with greater speed and creativity. Applying this insight to our bioengineering curriculum, Clemson University Bioengineering has partnered with academic institutions and medical facilities in Tanzania, India and the US to provide intercontinental educational opportunities for undergraduate students, graduate assistants, and faculty focused on global health solutions for resource poor communities. Through this program, students from Arusha Technical College in Tanzania and Clemson University collaborated on design projects including a breast pump for HIV+ mothers, urine tests to detect malaria, and a mobile test for detecting falsified drugs. Last year as the COVID-19 pandemic locked everything down, we launched the Clemson COVID Challenge, a virtual research and design experience, to challenge students to address problems arising from the pandemic. We also worked to develop a low-cost saliva based COVID-19 test that could be implemented in the Clemson community. This talk will highlight some of our recent work on design of devices, sensors, and diagnostics for low resource settings here and abroad.

Dr. Delphine Dean is the Ron and Jane Lindsay Family Innovation Professor of Bioengineering at Clemson University. Dr. Dean’s Multiscale Bioelectromechanics Lab leads a wide range of studies focused on understanding mechanics and interactions of biological systems across length scales and instrumentation and device design. Dr. Dean currently leads several studies to understand how the nanoscale structures and low-dose ionizing radiation affect cells and tissues. In addition, she works on translational design projects aimed at creating novel medical devices, sensors, and instrumentation for resource poor settings. Over the last 10 years, she has led several research and design project teams with collaborators in Tanzania and in India to design novel medical devices and diagnostics for low-resource clinical settings. She is committed to helping develop new technologies to help low-income and rural patient be able to monitor their health and better connect them to health providers. Dr. Dean is the director of the Center for Innovative Medical Devices and Sensors and the new Research Education in Disease Diagnosis and Intervention (REDDI) Lab, which includes Clemson's only CLIA certified diagnostic laboratory. The REDDI Lab runs all of Clemson University surveillance COVID testing as well as provides COVID testing for the surrounding Upstate SC community; the lab typically runs over 20,000 saliva RT-PCR diagnostic tests per week.